HIS21210 Spanish Civil War

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module examines the economic, social, political, cultural and religious roots of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and places them within the wider international historical context. The domestic causes of the military coup in July 1936 will be explored in conjunction with a focus on ideals and ideologies and other key factors that favoured its internationalisation and ultimately led to foreign intervention (Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union) and “malevolent neutrality” (Great Britain, France and the United States). The violence and hatred between Nationalists and Republicans that were unleashed in this conflict will be analysed as part of a broader discussion of the highly polarised rhetoric that inspired it. The war’s dual nature, revolutionary and reactionary, and the short and long-term repression that it triggered, will be examined by drawing on a wide selection of primary and secondary sources, such as archival records, propaganda posters and cartoons, newspapers, photography, literature, memoirs, film, and art. Interpretative categories that have attracted increasing attention in recent historiography, such as gender and race, will also be discussed.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Organise complex historical information;
2. Assess the impact of short, medium and long-term social, economic, political and cultural factors on the events that led to the Spanish Civil War;
3. Demonstrate an understanding of key historiographical debates on the Spanish Civil War;
4. Engage with primary and secondary sources in a critical manner;
5. Hone analytical and writing skills to a level appropriate for a Level 2 student of History.

Indicative Module Content:

The module will cover the following main areas: Week 1: A ‘Decrepit Old Empire on the Eve of its Final “Disaster”’, 1898-1931. Weeks 2 and 3: The Second Republic, 1931-1936. Week 4: The Coup, July 1936. Week 5: Spain Divided in Two, 1936-1937. Week 6: The ‘Internationalisation’ of the Conflict, 1936-1937. Week 7: Franco, Faith and Falangism. Week 8: Reading Week. Week 9: Nationalist Spain and the Annihilation of the ‘Enemy’. Week 10: Evolving Gender Roles and Relations. Week 11: Making Sense of Fratricidal Violence. Week 12: The Civil War: Divided Memories and ‘Alternative Facts’.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module combines large-group and small-group teaching, through a weekly lecture and seminar. Weekly lectures provide overviews of weekly topics, with focus upon key historical trends, debates and events. Weekly seminars focus on active / task-based learning using both secondary and primary sources related to the weekly topic covered in the lecture. In Week 8 the students will be given the opportunity to discuss how they intend to approach answering their essay question of choice with the MC and their peers with a view to receiving constructive feedback and suggestions.
Autonomous learning is nurtured through required preparatory reading each week, student-led in-class debate and two written assignments. Research, writing and citation skills are discussed during Week 1 to 3. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: 1800 word End-of-Term Essay Week 12 n/a Graded No


Assignment: 800 word Primary Source Analysis Week 6 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Participation in class exercises and activities Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback on the Mid-term Assignment will be given in writing. Feedback on the End-of-Term Essay will be given in writing.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Thurs 16:00 - 17:50